Thursday, October 28

What did the Hubble Space Telescope see on your birthday?



On April 24, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the STS-31 mission, which successfully deployed the hubble space telescope, one of the largest telescopes ever launched into space.

Although, like many other organizations, the American Space Agency It has had to cancel many activities because of the pandemic, it has not wanted to give up the celebrations for the thirtieth anniversary of the launching of Hubble. Of course, he has done them virtually.

One of the activities that has attracted the most attention is starting a generator that allows to collect the images taken by the telescope on a specific day and month, although the year cannot be selected. In total there are 366 images taken in the last three decades (it also includes February 29), one for each day of the year. Many users of social networks are taking the opportunity to discover what space images Hubble took on his birthday, and then share them with the hashtag #Hubble30.

The possibility that we contemplate images of any day is due to the fact that, as also explained by the organization’s website, “Hubble explores the universe 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That means it has observed some fascinating cosmic wonders every day of the year.”

Let’s take a practical example. Verne published its first news on September 24. If we enter that date in the search engine, the agency returns an image of the Galaxy Eso 243-49 captured that day in 2010. NASA also adds to the photo an explanation in English that allows us to interpret what we see: “This edge galaxy, called ESO 243-49, seems to host a medium-sized black hole that could come from a cannibalized dwarf galaxy. As massive as 20,000 suns, the black hole sits above the galactic plane, an unusual location that suggests it originated elsewhere. ” account, for example, about this galaxy.

Of course, that Hubble took a photograph that day does not mean that the photo corresponds to that particular date, since the distances in space are so great that light can take millions of years to get from one point to another. These are the ones that would correspond to this weekend, April 18 and 19:

That the images are so fascinating is because the Hubble function is too. It is a telescope that, thanks to its height and find yourself in the shade, allows its integrated cameras to obtain very close and precise images of the explosions of the stars or the mergers of galaxies, bringing us closer to the most distant universe, which is also the oldest.

The scientific importance of this telescope, whose infrastructure has not stopped evolving throughout its 30 years of life with successive astronaut missions that corrected its initial errors, is capital. “It is the social telescope of humanity. It has opened the borders of the cosmos to us and has multiplied our space in millions of years,” he explains to Verne José Luis Quiñones, the founder of Between Encinas and Stars, an Extremaduran astrotourism space.

“By observing the explosions of stars at enormous distances, calculations have been made that have led to hypotheses as important as the existence of dark matter”, says Quiñones, who in 2017 it was recognized by NASA itself for a photograph of the starry sky taken from the Monfragüe National Park.

“Hubble has allowed us to understand what we do not know about space”, explains to Verne David Ceballos, CEO of Astroland, a scientific project that recreates in a cave in Cantabría what would life be like on mars. But beyond its scientific value, the process of its construction also stands out: “17 countries collaborated in its preparation, including Spain, which has also contributed to democratizing knowledge”, he adds.

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